A Salve for my Soul: Intentional Reading

This is the third post in my Intentional Reading series as I tackle pinning down my intentions for the coming year as far as the information I put into my brain.  You might remember that I’ve broken my intentional reading list up into three areas: Mind, Body, and Spirit.  This list focuses on books meant to soothe my soul and lift my spirit.

When I sat down to think of what would nourish my soul, I was so excited about the possibilities.  My list quickly filled up and I had to do some serious paring down so as not to have the opposite effect on my soul.  In a year of intentional living, my goal is to nurture my soul and respect my time constraints, not overwhelm myself.

My criteria for this list were quite simple…the books that I chose had to be filled with beauty, truth and goodness.  They had to, in some way, nourish my soul and lift my spirit.

Some are more intense than others.

Some are just for fun because light and fun often lifts my spirits.

Some are in preparation for assigning them to my own little flock…by pre-reading them, I’m able to build the foundation upon which great conversations can take place.  It’s hard to discuss ideas and characters and dilemmas when I haven’t personally engaged with the reading and as my learners grow and branch out more on their own to read more independently and less as a family, I want to be sure that our conversations have the chance to continue.

The only books for my soul  that aren’t listed here are the ones listed on my post about my book club.  Those books, coupled with my book club conversations, feed and nourish my soul in a way that nothing else does, so be sure to pop over there to see which books we’re tackling this year.

Alright, here we go…

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Books for My Soul:

  • The Quiet Light:  I am a huge fan of de Wohl, his favorite of mine being The Living Wood.
  • Hindfeet in High Places:  This one came highly recommended and it gets such amazing reviews…I’m very excited!
  • With God in Russia:  This has been on my list for quite some time and I’m glad it made my intentional list for this year.
  • The Broken Way:  Leslie and I are working through this one together.  We’re going nice and slowly so that we can really soak in all the depth here.
  • *The C.S. Lewis Bible:  This has been my go-to bible for the last few years.  I love the reflections from Lewis and I haven’t made it all the way through.  I’ll pick this up from time to time and soak in The Word.  It’s a delightful salve for my weary soul.

Books for Fun to Lift My Spirit:

Books In Preparation for Great Conversations:

Please leave a comment and let me know what you’re using this year to nurture your soul and lift your spirits!

{A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}

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Looking in the mirror and accepting what we see is an intentional act.  Being happy with what see is an act of grace.

Being intentional is easier said than done.  It’s easier imagined than executed.  So here’s where we inspire you every week with a simple picture and a few words.  Think of this as a chance to help you realize the simplicity of intentional. 

Be inspired.  Allow gratitude and joy and beauty to sneak in with every intention.  And then won’t you come back and share your moment with us?  Or leave a link in the comments to your blog where you celebrate {A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}. 

 

 

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{A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}

Being intentional is easier said than done.  It’s easier imagined than executed.  So here’s where we inspire you every week with a simple picture and a few words.  Think of this as a chance to help you realize the simplicity of intentional. 

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The simple observation of a plant sprouting.  An afternoon playing with watercolors.  A moment that might otherwise have been overlooked is now forever remembered in lovely color.

Be inspired.  Allow gratitude and joy and beauty to sneak in with every intention.  And then won’t you come back and share your moment with us?  Or leave a link in the comments to your blog where you celebrate {A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}. 

 

 

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Choco-Lit: The Art of Intentional Conversation {About Books}

I  used to think joining a book club was a luxury.  It seemed a bit romanticized.  Women joining together over wine or dinner or coffee and tea to discuss lofty ideas in a book they’d all agreed to read.

And then I had my moments of thinking the opposite.  Surely these women gathered together under the pretext of discussing ideas when, in fact, they were gossiping and drinking wine and using it as an excuse to get together.

My only real experience with book discussions was limited to either “Here, you’ve got to read this!” passing comments or my literature classes in college where I often left feeling like I was obviously some type of nitwit because I certainly never interpreted that passage THAT way.  Add to that the poor guidance I was given through high school in reading classic pieces of literature and I tended to imagine a club to discuss books could only be fun if it involved easy, modern fiction.

Ahhh, how my tune has changed.  Or in this case, my tastes, my perceptions, my intentions.

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I’ve been in my current book club now for almost four years.  Four beautiful years of reading, reflecting, conversing.  Four beautiful years of intentional conversations about shared reading.  Four beautiful years of a community of women that I eagerly gather together with once a month where we can express our own journeys through discussions based on characters and plots and settings and circumstances.

So the thing about my book club is it has been a bit fluid in the past.  In fact, of the original members, I am the only one that remains.  Members have changed, book lists have changed, discussion formats have changed, venues have changed.  Even our name has changed (we are now the Choco-Lit Society…because who doesn’t want to eat chocolate while discussing books?!)

One thing has not changed though.  Intentional literary discussions.

Intentional literary discussions (whether done with a group of like-minded women, a group of diverse women, your husband, your sister, or even your kids) is the pathway to our souls.  Our minds are wired for stories and character transformation…our own character transformation…happens when we soak up a piece of literature and gather together to hash out the details.  We open ourselves to alternative perspectives, constructive criticism and a deeper understanding of ideas when we engage in intentional literary conversations.

Not every book turns out to be what I imagined.  Not every book sparks my imagination.  Some books are lovelier than others.  Some speak to my soul more deeply.  Some I struggle with.  Some I learn from.  Some I connect with.

But the conversation that takes place at book club?  That’s what makes each and every book worth reading.

Because when we come together and actually, intentionally, discuss the book, our minds grow.  Our souls connect over a literary world we’ve immersed ourselves in.  Suddenly the great big world seems a little bit smaller because it turns out that we all have joys to celebrate, hardships to endure, lessons to learn and we discover that through deep, heartfelt discussions that anchor our floating thoughts to concrete words.

This year to mark the our literary intentions of 2017, we have decided to lay out our plans for the entire year (in the past we chose books a month or two in advance).  We are focusing on classic pieces of literature this year.  We gather together on the last Monday of every month at 7 in the evening to discuss, with intention, the book for the month.  And each of these books are full of beautiful, worthy subjects to discuss.

I encourage you, if you are not part of a book club already, to join one.  Personally, I fail at online book clubs, but I know many women who thrive in them.  Join an intentional conversation and see the goodness, the beauty and the truth that lie hidden behind a literary conversation.  And then won’t you come back and share your experience with us?

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